Netbooks Run Windows 7

Laptop Magazine tested Windows 7 Ultimate (Pre-Beta) on an ASUS Eee PC 1000H. And just as Microsoft said: it works.

The Eee PC running a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM handles the new operating system pretty well, just as it ran Vista pretty well when we loaded Vista Basic on it a few months ago. We still had a problem getting a few of the Eee PC drivers to work with the system, but for the most part we were able to get all of the features to work using the XP drivers provided by ASUS.

Unsurprisingly, it takes 58 seconds for the system to boot the OS. Of course, it has actually taken a minute for some systems to boot XP as well. However, the Eee PC 1000H boots in only 40 seconds with its default operating system.

Once booted, it was pretty neat to see Windows 7 on the 10-inch screen. As we mentioned in our Windows 7 overview, things pretty much look and feel like Windows Vista.

At the Inside Windows 7 press demo last Sunday, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky said that all software and hardware that works with Windows Vista will work with Windows 7, as driver support remains the same. Hooks for “cloud computing” will enable applications to run online. It should be available next year. Some time.

Acer, the world’s third-largest PC vendor, said shipments of its Aspire one netbook could reach 6 million units this year, which would edge out the popular Asus Eee PC at the top of the market.

Asustek President Jerry Shen said that by 2009 his company will offer an entry-level Eee PC beginning at $200. Intel and Asus launched, a Web site that solicits ideas from consumers with the goal of producing “the world’s first community-designed PCs.”

Sprint Goblin Tracker — Half Price

Sprint Nextel is targeting parents of trick-or-treaters by halving the price of its GPS-based child-locating service. Starting today, parents can now use Sprint Family Locator, including recent enhancements, for just $5 per month.

Sprint Family Locator allows parents to view the location of their children from a Web-enabled phone or computer. Sprint has also upgraded the offering, adding 3D maps, pushpin places for favorite locations, and the ability by users to customize the app by uploading photos of family members.

“Sprint has always been proud to offer the wireless family locator service with the most compatible phones and fewest plan limitations, and now we’ve made Sprint Family Locator the least expensive in the industry,” said Len Barlik, Sprint’s VP of wireless and wireline services.

The application was developed by WaveMarket, and Sprint Nextel became the first carrier to offer GPS-based child-tracking with its launch in April 2006. The service has seen an average of more than 3 million location requests per month since June, according to the operator.

It may be getting some stiff competition from the open applications marketplace on iPhone app store and T-Mobile’s G-1 Market. And speaking of Androids . . .

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NAB Horror Stories

Consumer advocacy group, Free Press says don’t be frightened by their fear-mongering message that our TVs will never be the same if some broadcast channels are used for high-speed Internet.

Lobbyists at the National Association of Broadcasters are trying to scare Washington with horror stories about “white spaces” — vacant TV channels that can be used to bring high-speed Internet connections to rural and low-income Americans across the country.

The FCC must not buckle under the intense lobbying pressure, says Free Press. They’ve created a postcard to send the FCC this Halloween — to help build a better Internet for everyone.

It needs yes votes from three of the five commissioners for approval, and commissioner Roger McDowell seems to think that won’t be a problem. “I’m very optimistic,” the Republican told Reuters. “I think this could be a 5-to-0 vote.”

DOJ Okays Alltel/Verizon Merger

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday gave the green light on the merger of Alltel with Verizon Wireless. Alltel, the 5th largest wireless provider in the United States, would then become a part of Verizon Wireless, the 2nd largest (after AT&T). The merger should then make Verizon the largest U.S. cellular carrier with some 80 million subscibers.

But the DOJ is requiring Verizon to divest assets in 22 states, including service in all of North Dakota and South Dakota; large portions of Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming; and parts of Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

Verizon plans to pay Alltel about $5.9 billion for equity in the company, but it will also take on about $22.2 billion in debt. Alltel incurred most of this debt when it was taken over in a leveraged buyout last year.

Investors have been concerned that the acquisition has gotten too expensive as debt financing costs have risen. But Verizon’s CEO Ivan Seidenberg assured them during the company’s quarterly conference call this week that Alltel is still a good purchase and would pay for itself in the long run.

Verizon is the second-largest mobile carrier in the United States, with 70 million subscribers in 49 states, after AT&T Mobility with 75 million subscribers. Alltel, the fifth-largest mobile carrier in the United States, has about 13 million subscribers in 35 states.

The $28.1 billion deal, which was announced in June, still needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission. The agency is expected to vote on the acquisition at its November 4th meeting.

The Public Interest Spectrum Trust, comprised of six organizations, has balked at an order proposed last week by FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin to approve the merger, reports the Washington Post. Ben Scott, policy director at Free Press, said Verizon’s promises to open their networks to any devices and technologies hasn’t come to fruition.

The merger would create the nation’s largest cellphone carrier, with 80 million subscribers.

Sprint Keeps Nextel

After failing to find a buyer for its Nextel cellphone unit, Sprint Nextel Corp. said Thursday it will hold on to the Nextel and renew their long-term partnership with Motorola, reports the WS Journal.

“The iDEN network is a key differentiator for Sprint, as it allows us to offer products and services no other carrier in the industry can match. We continue to build on our support for our industry-leading push-to-talk Nextel Direct Connect franchise through our aggressive marketing efforts which exploit the unique features and functionality of the iDEN network,” said Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint.

Earlier this year, Sprint began searching for potential buyers for Nextel, which has struggled since the two companies merged in 2005, losing millions of customers in the face of stiff competition from AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

It’s an understatement to say that the 2005 merger of the two companies has been something of a disaster. In January, Sprint took a nearly $30 billion noncash accounting charge, writing off much of the goodwill value of its 2005 Nextel purchase and other acquisitions. The credit crunch made it difficult to raise the cash for the sale, which was just over $5.4 billion–a valuation that analysts questioned.

The Nextel network features high-performance walkie-talkie-style cell phone service, but the network caused interference with firefighter and other public safety radio systems. To solve the problem a complicated frequency swap, called the Consensus Plan was worked out with the FCC whereby Sprint-Nextel would give up the interfering frequencies to public service agencies in exchange for consolidation of new frequencies in the 800 MHz band and 1.9GHz band.

Related DailyWireless articles include; Public Safety Gets New 800 MHz Frequencies, Sprint’s Walkie Talkie: 40 Cities, Sprint-Nextel: Deal from Hell, D-Block: Down to the Wire, NY State’s Public Service Net: Failure?, The OTHER Public Safety Band, Hearings on 700MHz Auction, Free 2155-2175 MHz!, FCC Wants Cellular Alert System, Sprint-Nextel to Merge, Sprint-tel: Done Deal?, Sprint Forces Forsee Out, The OTHER Public Safety Band, Nextel Accepts Consensus Swap.